Should you be selling your home during the holiday season?
Now that the holiday season is upon us, many potential sellers may feel that they should wait until after the first of the year to sell. There seems to be a popular belief that no one wants to buy a house in November or December.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been busy nearly every holiday season in the more than 35 years I've worked in real estate. And this year is no exception.
In fact, this year sellers may find they are getting more buyer activity than usual, since the inventory of homes for sale continues to be lower than usual. And that means that sellers have less competition. I have heard a number of buyers say that they would like to start the new year in a new home. That means they are actively searching for that home right now.
There are a few different issues, however, that the holiday season may bring for sellers. Here are a few tips specifically for those selling during November and December.
1. Try to limit smells. Be careful about filling your home with "Christmas-y" fragrances. There are potential buyers who may be allergic or who simply don't enjoy pine or cinnamon or whatever holiday fragrance you enjoy. There is no sense in chasing them away.
And if you are a smoker, please try to limit your smoking to a place outside the home. I know it is inconvenient, but it is only for the time you are selling your home, and it may bring you an offer more quickly and at a higher price.
2. Consider your pets. The holidays are often stressful for pets and having a number of strangers coming to the house can also be stressful for some. This may mean that normally well behaved pets may suddenly forget they are housebroken, and there may be a few extra puddles where they don't belong.
This can also bring some unwanted smells, and a pet that is terribly confused. A bit of extra attention during this time, an extra walk or two for your dog, and whatever arrangements you can make to remind them that you do love them and it will all be okay.
3. Don't overdo the holiday decor. Many of us love to bring out the pumpkins, gourds, turkeys, and other decor for Thanksgiving and lots of Santas, snowmen, lights and holiday wreaths for Christmas. By all means, you need not be decor-free, but cut in half the amount you would otherwise display. the reason for this is that we want to show off your great home, and not the great holiday decorations.
I have shown homes that had beautiful architecture, crown mouldings, fireplaces and large rooms, and my buyers couldn't recall seeing any of those things, but they remembered the jolly Santa in the entry and the beautiful angels and bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Remember, you are not selling anything but the house, and that is what we need to promote.
4. Do not make your home seem cramped. A related issue to #3 is that Christmas trees do take up a lot of space. Keep that in mind, and you may need to remove a piece or two of furniture while the tree is up, to keep your home feeling open and large, not crowded and small.
5. Be smart about leaving presents under the tree. We all like to believe that people are honest, and no Realtor that I know would knowlingly bring thieves into your home, but let's not tempt them anyway. A Realtor bringing buyers to your home will be sensitive to this, but better safe than sorry.
Any small or expensive gifts should be moved to a dresser or someplace safer than under the tree while your home is for sale. Buyers will look in closets because they want to see their size and if there is built-in shelving, but they should not look in dresser drawers or inside furniture that will not be sold with the home.
6. Keep your home bright and cheery. Late fall and winter can be a bit dreary, with everything outside tending to look gray and beige. A few red pillows on your couch or on the master suite bed and red placemats on the table can bring a cheery feeling.
Having the thermostat up a degree or two and lights all on for showings can make your home feel warm, comfortable and inviting. If you have an insert or electric fireplace, you might leave the fire on for showings, but I don't recommend leaving a wood fire burning if you will be leaving the house.
7. Above all, have a wonderful holiday season. None of the above tips should keep you from having a wonderful Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any of the other holidays you may be celebrating, but they just might bring you the best gift of all -- a great buyer bringing in a great offer on your home!